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Well, as to the status of my Nano/Vase/NPT tests;
I have GASP!!!! Dirt I grabbed from a Planter/Bench in the back yard that had some good top soil in it from the last 2 years and put some underneath SoilMaster Select Red. That stuff is really neat! Listening to the snapp, crackle, pop as the air escapes the SMS is wild! And watching the dust dance out/off the water looks like steam coming out. Wow! CEC huh? Cation Exchange Capacity. I can't wait for my wife to ask about it - and the look on her face when I answer (does she really want to know??).
Okay, as to the dirt. My 7 year old daughter was helping with this on the back deck on our finally warm/hot 'summer' evening try to do this project and have the vase/bowl look attractive. (I feel like my biologist father.)
Well, these are nearby the south deck windows/doors and I am waiting. Patiently. Waiting. I finally added some Rotala Rotundifloria Green to the vase with Java Fern. The hard part was finding something to push the roots down far enough to get anchored in the soil. SMS is EASY to work with underwater.
The plants aren't dying. That is good.
I am trying to resist the temptation to give them a shot of Seachem just to give them a boost. It is hard. But I haven't done it yet.
The rotala has some real good root shoots coming off the stem. One of the plants is probably too long or tall for the vase. I am just learning to get comfortable with cutting/trimming/pruning plants. I have in the past waited so long for them to thrive.

Will they be okay with wide temperature changes from the sun and sometimes cool nights?

I will wait a long time before adding any tiny fish to these. I will look up again suggestions for which tiny ones to use far in the future in this or other posts.

I will try to get some digital photos of the 2 vases. My wife thinks I am nuts taking photos of my fish tanks. I feel like my father again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
I'd think the plants should be fine. :)
So what kind of a vase did you get? how much water does it hold?

I set up one that holds maybe a half gallon. Planted some lucky bamboo in it. I haven't added any critters and probably won't. It's just too small.

I'd bet I'm seeing a 10 degree temperature swing in the hex. The heater keeps it from going below 75 but I'd bet it makes it up to 85 in the evenings. The betta and snails and plants seem very happy.
 

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Be careful if this is out in direct sunlight. Java fern is a shade plant. You may kill it with all that UV light.

The Rotala will do fine with sunlight.... if its allowed to grow emergent (See page 146 my book). Even then, I'd gradually acclimate the Rotala to direct sunlight over a several day period. Keep the water level low until it pokes its head above water surface and starts growing well as an emergent plant.
 

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The top of the Rotala was looking pretty sad & squishy under the water. I thought the tip was getting dried up/out. I trimmed it. (Ouch!)
I will try to keep being patient. I was not sure if the stem for the Rotala would be strong enough to emerge from the water.
I remember what the book said. The lucky bamboo sounds neat!
I will wait and see with the Rotala. I won't trim it again. I can't wait to see what it looks like once it emerges.

When I learn how to insert a photo in a post, I will. I would love to actually.

With the rain here in the northeast, I am not sure if direct sun ever hits the vase. (Have you seen the COOL SHAPES the vases have in the hobby section of Super Wal*Mart?! I would love to try them all. I could have 20-30 Betta Bowls all over the house! )
I can't leave it outside. The rain would wash it all away!

Did I tell you I work for a life insurance company? Being patient with these plants is like being patient with the computer system at work............
 

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I think I figured posting photos out!

Top photo 2 Gallon Betta Bowl at the Office.

Thumbnail - NPT experiment at home.

I will try to post a better quality photo of the Thumbnail.
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
Oh the betta vase looks awsome!!

Why so much gravel in the new vase?

Here it is at 2 months




The water has yellowed a little. not bad at all. and I'm seeing hair algae. The betta and plants seem very happy. :)

Plus here's another little 2.5 gallon bowfront that's I drug up to work the other day. It was set up as a NPT back in September, 2005 and had been sitting under a 20 gallon tank in the dining room where it really wasn't convenient to mess with. It has e tenellus, brinze crypts and crypt lutea with some hornwort and najas floating. I just added some rotalla last week. It has my cambodian betta boy in it.




 

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The Betta bowl looks great.

As to the other bowl, I think the SMS layer is too deep. Roots from those small plants will have trouble getting to the soil layer. For a small bowl like this with smallish plants, I wouldn't have more than say 1/2 to 1 inch of gravel.
 

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Betty, I'm really enjoying your tank too! It looks beautiful yet different everytime you post a photo. You seemed to have balanced it so well with the sunlight and the plants look so healthy. I don't even see any algae and if you can't see it at that distance, then it's practically not there!

I like the 2.5 too. So you have given it more light by locating it in front of a window too? I bet it will explode in growth. I just set up a 2.5 with dwarf sag and I can't get over how similar that plant looks to the tennelus in your photo. I'm still adjusting light on my 1g hex trying to find the right amount.
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
Yea, well... the hair algae wants to form a carpet on the bottom of this tank. It's pretty easy to pick out. The strand of java moss is also hair algae city. I really like the limnophilia in the background. It really makes the crypts stand out. I started another new 55 gallon NPT at home last weekend and stole a dozen or so tennelus today from the hex.

I'm amazed at how different the e tennelus is in the two tanks. The tennelus in the hex came from a club member and is very short. The tennelus in the bowfront (from azgardens) is taller and kinda lays down. Its runners are a pain in the butt cuz they insist on floating. I had to weigh them down with rocks to get them to stay down (and hopefully root).

Yea, the bowfront was by a south window at home, so it wasn't getting any direct sunlight. It also only had stock lighting on it at home. Now, I have a 20 watt 6500K compact fluorescent bulb sitting about 4 inches from the water (on top of the lamo stock hood). I'll bet it's going to be much happier at work. the betta's already much happier now that he's getting handfed shrimp. :)

It'll be interesting to see how your sag does... If you'll remember, I used that for a foreground plant in the 125 and it went nuts in the soil, grew like a foot tall and took over the tank! LOL It's kinda striated in color whereas the tennelus is flat green.
 

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I will try to reduce the amount of SoilMaster Select in the vases. I will try the 1/2 to 1 inch layer. I was having trouble getting the roots in one of the 2 vases to stay.

I love dwarf sag.

I brought what I thought was 3 of these that I harvested from my office Seachem Betta Bowl (Wow! Those were gorgeous - leaves, runners, roots - stunning like lab type quality) and they were actually 6-9 of them.

I tried these in another very cool Super Wal*Mart Vase (which I am DEFINITELY posting a photo of - Very Cool 'Bowl') and made the mistake of experimenting with Seachem 'Clarify' just because I had some and never tried it. Only use that product if you have a large tank with a cartridge filter or some other filter. It worked - but my Vase looked AWFUL. It looked like curdled red pea soup.

Needless to say I saved these dwarf sags and put them in my 10 gallon tank.
After 'nursing' them back to the way they were - I will put them back in the vase ) ( shape with a much smaller layer of the SoilMaster Select Red.

I still have not put any supplements in the water. One of them is trying to emerge out of the water, and the stem is growing stronger. The other like you said is having challenges with the roots getting established.
 

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It looks good to me too! Maybe some floaters will help control your algae prob? Let me know and I can send you some water lettuce if you need it. I've got TONS of it in my pond...

-ricardo
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
Thanks, but I have plenty. that stuff grows like crazy. Maybe I'll add some more najas grass.

I'm thinking about turning off the filter.
I removed the filter in the little 5 gallon bowfront and the 2.5 gallon bowfront (and a 20 gallon at home) last week and all seem happy.
 

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Hi Betty,

The tank looks great from the photo; I don't worry about algae that doesn't show at that distance:) . I had a heck of a time adjusting light in my hex (which I know now must be at least 2 gal), but after killing off the BGA with Maracyn, it looks pretty darn good with bright window light and a 20W halogen. I hope to borrow a camera soon to share with you. Your crypts look much healthier than mine, however:) ! My healthiest plant is two stands of hygro difformis that are showing that gorgeous intricate high-light leaf form now. I still get lots of that furry, fluorescent green algae on the sides, though despite my floaters and hornwort.

How do you tell tennellus from dwarf sag? I bet these two get mislabeled frequently. The "dwarf sag" in my other 2.5 has begun to spread like mad! It's popping up everywhere, but I like the height of it so far. I'm just going to have to pull it where it's invading the other species.

Jimbo, I love that 2g betta bowl too! I think you, Betty, and I should share our mini planted betta tanks on some betta forums to encourage others to house their bettas happily!
 

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Discussion Starter · #36 ·
My sag looks a lot like one of the varieties of chain swords I have, cept it gets taller. When it invades and starts getting taller than the swords, I pull it. I'm loving the little chain swords in the hex. They appear to be staying itty bitty.

Added some cherry shrimp to the hex today. I don't think the crowntail is fast enough to catch them. LOL

Here's a thread on a 1 gallon NPT betta bowl over on GAB.

That's a good idea. I recently showed mine off on the ultimate betta board.

Yesterday, my coworker picked out a new doubletailed betta boy for the little 2.5 gallon bowfront. He looks different depending on how the light hits him. Has a light blue sheen.




 

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Re Jimbo's question from long ago:
And besides a Betta, what other fish can I try in a small tank without a filter?
The reason bettas are such great fish for still unfiltered tanks is that they have a labyrinth organ and don't rely on drawing oxygen from the water. As long as the air above the tank is humid, they're happy.

There are many kinds of fish with similar organs. Paradise fish and gouramis also have labyrinth organs, I think. What is the term you need to search, "Anabantoids"? Is that right, someone?

Oooh look... link explaining the labyrinth organ:
http://en.mimi.hu/aquarium/labyrinth_organ.html
 

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Betty,

When you say you add "crushed shells to gradually increase the level of hard water nutrients over time" to the potting mix, is that to benefit the plants? Is it absolutely necessary?

I have mid-soft water, but bettas like soft water, so if I change it at all, I add some plant acids. Snails tend not like this much but many of the potted plants in my unplanted aquarium have survived.
 

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Discussion Starter · #40 ·
That's a Diana question. :)

Seems like soils tend to get acidic at first and then return to neutral over time as the soil gets used to being submerged.

I don't think it's absolutely necessary. and you're right. Bettas like softer lower pH water.

I would think that water in NPTs would get harder over time from evaporation and topping off. They shouldn't have the issues normal tanks have with KH getting used up by the biofilter bacteria and pH slipping down over time. From what I've read tho, in heavily planted tanks, you see larger pH swings daily with lower KH. and in some cases if the water is low in calcium, pH may move above 8.4.
 
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